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Are Food Sensitivities Sabotaging Your Health?

DO ANY OF THESE STATEMENTS SOUND LIKE YOU?

You might be surprised to hear you may have a food sensitivity.

TYPES OF FOOD REACTIVITIES

Before we start getting into the nitty gritty, I’d like to highlight that there are 3 different types of food reactivities, these include:

  1. Food Allergies
  2. Food Intolerances
  3. Food Sensitivities

Let’s go over each of these in more detail…..

1.) Food allergies

Food allergies are a life threatening situation that involves an immediate immune reaction after eating an offending food. These reactions can be fatal depending on the severity of the reaction.

A peanut, egg, or sesame allergy are a common examples.

Symptoms of a food allergy can occur with in minutes of eating an offending food and include symptoms like:

True food allergies involve IgE antibodies with the degranulation of mast cells in connective tissue, such as the lungs, skin, and lining of the GI tract.

This degranulation of mast cells is what leads to the symptoms noted above.

2.) Food Intolerances

Food intolerances do not involve the immune system and may be enzymatic in nature.

Lactose intolerance is likely an example of a food intolerance you’ve heard of before.

When a person does not have the lactase enzyme present in their small intestine to break down lactose, the result is gas and diarrhea because your body was not able to break down lactose into a more tolerable food particle.

Unlike food allergies, food intolerances are not life threatening. Common symptoms of food intolerance include diarrhea, bloating, and gas.

3.) Food sensitivities

Food sensitivities on the other hand, are immune system mediated but the reactions are delayed—also known as “delayed hypersensitivity“.

Unlike food allergy, food sensitivity is not an acute, life threatening reaction.

Food Sensitivity reactions come on gradually and may take 48 to 72 hours to have symptoms These reactions can also be dose dependent, complicating matters even further.

Food sensitivities can occur with ANY food or chemical. This means even healthy foods you eat such as spinach, salmon, or turmeric could be causing an immune reaction in your body!

In addition, it’s common to see sensitivities to chemicals in foods such as:

The good news is that food sensitivities are typically NOT permanent. Once we can heal the body’s immune system, the number of food sensitivities you experience will likely diminish.

The reason food sensitivities are so important is because these can cause inflammatory processes in the body which can cascade into various chronic health problems as I’ll discuss below.

WHY SHOULD I CARE IF I HAVE A FOOD SENSITIVITY?

Food sensitivities are more common than you think.

Up to 30-40% of people experience food sensitivities and they are more common in women.

Food sensitivities follow inflammatory pathways that are an important source of symptoms across an array of chronic inflammatory conditions. Uncontrolled inflammation plays a role in nearly every major disease.

For example, IBS, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, arthritis, reflux, obesity, and unexplained asthma are all potential outcomes of an undiagnosed food sensitivity.

Food and food chemical sensitivities remain one of the most under-addressed areas in conventional medicine.

This means that many people are not treating the root cause of their inflammatory condition and they may be taking many medications along with several trips to the doctor’s office with no relief in sight.

WHICH FOOD SENSITIVITY TESTS ARE BEST?

It is my feeling, the most accurate method for food sensitivity testing out there is MRT, which stands for Mediator Release Test.

MRT is a blood test that measures the magnitude of your body’s inflammatory response to foods.

MRT measures BOTH type III hypersensitivities (IgG, IgM) and type IV hypersensitivities (cytokines, prostaglandins, TNF, etc).

MRT is the most accurate and comprehensive test available for food sensitivity testing because it yields results with 94.5% sensitivity & 91.7% specificity.

In addition, MRT tests the amount of pro-inflammatory mediators released, no matter which pathway triggered them, (i.e. we’re not just measuring IgG like most other food sensitivity tests out there) so you’ll know for sure what foods are giving you symptoms.

See a more detailed explanation in this video:

Now that you know more about Food Sensitivities, let’s investigate if food sensitivity reactions could be the root-cause of your health problem(s).

SIGN 1: HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS

One of the most common triggers of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis are food sensitivities. When a reactive food is eaten, it causes an inflammatory response in the body.

In short, this inflammatory response leads to your body creating anti-bodies that destroy your thyroid gland.

When your immune system starts attacking your thyroid gland, you experience worsening function of the thyroid which can lead to symptoms like cold intolerance and hair loss.

Cutting out reactive foods can lower thyroid antibodies and help get your Hashimoto’s into remission.

Recognizing and eliminating reactive foods has been a life-changer for those suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

When we remove trigger foods, thyroid antibodies plummet which allows for your thyroid gland to heal itself.

The result is improved thyroid functioning and remission of hypothyroid symptoms. This is all done simply by removing reactive foods. Amazing!

SIGN 2: MIGRAINE HEADACHES

An estimated 26 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, with the majority of sufferers being female.

Migraine headaches are often characterized by an intense throbbing pain on one side of the head accompanied by nausea and vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and blurred vision.

A variety of factors trigger migraine headache and food sensitivity is often an ignored cause.

Studies have shown that identifying and eliminating trigger foods can reduce the severity and frequency of migraine episodes.

Not only are the frequency of migraine headaches reduced, but the quality of life is improved significantly. Clients see improvement in parameters, seen as: enhanced physical functioning, reduced pain levels, renewed sense of vitality, and improved mental health.

Again, simply by getting to the root of your health issue by removing reactive foods we can avoid unnecessary medications and costly doctor visits in your future.

SIGN 3: IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)

IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States with about 2 in 3 of those being female.

You probably know if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) — with symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, gas, constipation, distention, diarrhea, and cramping these symptoms are hard to ignore.

To put everything into context for you, up to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut lining. Because of this, your gut is bombarded with any number of countless substances that could stimulate an immune reaction right smack dab in your gut.

When your gut immune system reacts to foods and chemicals from your diet, various immune mediators are released including: cytokines, histamine, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes. The result is digestive upset.

Many of my clients see a vast improvement in their digestive symptoms simply by removing reactive foods for a period of time to give their gut a chance to relax and repair itself.

After we remove these reactive foods for a period of 3-6 months, we retrial these same foods that were once causing issues. I’ve noted that up to 80% of once reactive foods are no longer causing problems and are able to be tolerated once again. This is true healing!

SIGN 4: RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is characterized by inflammation and loss of function that affects joints, connective tissue, and other supporting body structures.

Specifically, RA targets the lining of the joints, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity.

Of the 1.3 million adults in the United States with RA, about three-quarters are women and food sensitivities have been studied as a modifiable risk factor for RA.

RA is characterized by inflammation, which of course we now know is triggered by the effects of foods we are sensitive to.

Several studies have been published on the beneficial effects of cutting problematic foods from the diet in order to minimize and reverse symptoms of RA.

SIGN 5: FIBROMYALGIA

A feeling of constant exhaustion, brain fog, muscle fatigue, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning,– these are all symptoms of a person suffering from Fibromyalgia.

Food sensitivities place a constant and hidden stress on the body by inducing a response to inflammation which can leave one feeling run down.

Chronic or “low-grade” inflammation acts like a slow drip of inflammatory messages that ends up wearing down your body.

It has been noted that many people with Fibromyalgia experience sensitivities to foods and varies between individuals.

Cutting out reactive foods can reduce inflammation and lead to an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms over time.

OTHER CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH FOOD SENSITIVITY

We went over just 5 conditions associated with food sensitivity, but there are many others including:

IN CONCLUSION

You now know the difference between a food allergy, a food intolerance and a food sensitivity and what conditions are commonly associated with food sensitivities.

The good news: I can help you chart a path to wellness.

It doesn’t have to be a blind guessing game, eliminating foods at whim, hoping you figure out which ones cause your symptoms.

Remember: you can be sensitive to any food, including things we deem healthy and anti-inflammatory like turmeric or even ubiquitous foods like tomatoes or garlic!

Imagine if you ate those foods every single day, not knowing they were actually the root-cause of all of your health issues.

If you want to find out the root cause of your inflammatory issue, you can book a consult call with me to find out if food sensitivity testing with MRT might be right for you!

Sarah Neumann Haske, MS, RDN is a Women’s Health Functional Dietitian and owner of Neumann Nutrition & Wellness, LLC. Her practice helps women heal their gut, regulate their hormones and balance their thyroid using a root-cause approach to their health. As a result of her program her clients are able to come off medications, feel more energized, and be more confident in their bodies again. If you’re interested in being a partner in your own health journey and finding the direction and accountability you need to reach your health goals, then schedule your complimentary call with Sarah now.